1906, Thanksgiving Day -- Mrs. Ellen Burge, widow of a prominent Springfield
lawyer, officially donated her frame duplex on Jefferson Avenue for use
as a Methodist hospital in Springfield. The hospital was named Burge Deaconess
Hospital in her honor.
1908 -- A three-story brick building was constructed adjacent to the
original house. This building had one operating room, and male and female
wards totaling 30 beds.
1910 -- One nurse was the first graduating class of Burge School of Nursing.
1924 -- The Womens Home Missionary Society, who then owned the
property, deeded Burge Hospital in trust to a group of Springfield citizens.
1932 -- A 40-bed unit was constructed in addition to the 30 beds already
there. This new wing of the hospital was named the John Howard Nixon Wing
in honor of Dr. Nixon, in whose memory $105,000 was donated for the construction.
That was the end of Burge Hospitals growth for nearly 20 years.
The Depression curtailed plans for expansion. World War II channeled badly
needed resources into more urgent areas. By the late 40s, Burge
Hospital was dying, crippled by impractical business management and the
acute neglect that afflicted many of the nations hospitals in that
immediate post-war era.
But Burge didnt die. A group of physicians approached Lester E.
Cox, prominent local businessman, and asked him to become president of
the Board of Directors.
Cox began a series of capital campaigns which raised community money
and federal matching funds for hospital expansion.
1949-1966 -- Expansion campaigns continued and wing after wing was added
to the hospital until Burge accommodated 500 patient beds.
Early 50s -- Burge Hospital pioneered the first polio unit in the
Ozarks. The development of clinics to benefit the communitys children
was an outgrowth of the efforts to combat polio.
1968 -- Construction began on yet another addition to Burge Hospital
when Lester E. Cox died. The hospitals Board of Directors voted
to change the name of the hospital to Lester E. Cox Medical Center in
his honor. Lester L. (Bud) Cox succeeded his father as chairman of the
1970s -- A 10-story physicians office building, Cox Medical Tower,
was built across the street from the hospital.
1971 -- Cox Medical Center became one of the first hospitals in the nation
with a Mobile Coronary Care Unit. This specially equipped ambulance was
dispatched to provide immediate care to people in coronary distress.
Late 70s -- Cox Medical Center played a major role in an event
that was destined to affect Springfield well into the next century. Cox
Medical Center became the pioneer on what is now known as Springfields
Medical Mile. Cox purchased land north of Highway M to be used for a nursing
1981 -- Following the completion of the nursing home, Primrose Place
Health Care Center, an announcement was made regarding a new Cox Medical
Center to be built on the Medical Mile.
1984 -- Ground-breaking ceremony was held for a proposed 50-60 physician
medical office, adjacent to the hospital. This became the Medical Arts
Center and was attached to the hospital via a ground level hallway.
1985 -- The shift in city population and the growth of health care facilities
led to the building of a 10-story hospital dedicated to the service of
Cox South is now a 562-bed full-service hospital serving all of southwest
Missouri and northern Arkansas. Cox North is a 274-bed facility with a
commitment to caring for this community and the surrounding areas.
1986 -- Cox televised the first CMN Telethon in the Ozarks from Cox South.
1987 -- The Womens Center, Senior Advantage and the Family Practice
Residency all got their start at Cox.
1989 -- Cox South again expanded its boundaries with a 135,000-square-foot
office building at Primrose and National Avenue. Cox Medical Plaza I opened
its doors in early 1990 with space for 80 physicians, 30 hotel guest rooms
and 11,000 square feet of space for outpatient rehabilitation. Before
construction was complete, Springfields longest above-ground connector,
the Cox skywalk, was built across National.
Late 80s -- Cox Medical Centers worked with St. Johns to
bring magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to the Ozarks. The facility on
Woodland Drive off of Fremont Avenue is still a joint venture between
the two hospitals.
1989 -- COX AIR CARE lifted off as the first air ambulance for Cox Medical
1990 -- Claudine B. Cox Child Care Center was built on the Cox South
campus. It can accommodate 48 infants and 132 preschoolers.
Early 90s -- Texas County Memorial Hospital, a 66-bed health care
facility, signed a management contract with Cox.
1993 -- Lester E. Cox Medical Centers became Cox Health Systems.
June 1993 -- Cox Health Systems, Oxford HealthCare and Home Parenteral
Services merged home health services, creating the largest home health
care company in southwest Missouri.
October 1993 -- Cox Health Systems and St. Vincent Hospital in Monett
announced the letter of intent for Cox to purchase St. Vincent Hospital,
a 78-bed not-for-profit community hospital.
December 1993 -- Lester L. (Bud) Cox passed away and his son Lester B.
(Barry) Cox was named chairman of the board of Cox Health Systems.
August 1994 -- Cox Health Systems and Burrell Inc. combined their behavioral
health services to provide inpatient and emergency psychiatric services,
as well as residential, outpatient, crisis and prevention programs.
1994 --Burge School of Nursing changed its name to Lester L. Cox College
of Nursing and Health Sciences in honor of Lester L. Cox and his dedication
to the nursing school and the hospitals.
1994 -- Primrose Healthcare Services Inc., a local physician-hospital
organization, was formed by Cox, hospital physicians and independent physicians.
1995 -- Cox Health Systems and St. Louis-based BJC Health System entered
into an agreement that allows Cox to access BJC-affiliated managed care
contracts and cost-effective group purchasing alliances.
1995 -- Cox Medical Plaza II and a three-level parking garage opened
to provide space for more physician offices.
1995 -- Cox Health Systems announced the creation of Cox Health Systems
Insurance Company to serve the health insurance needs of businesses in
1996 -- Cox Health Systems and Ferrell-Duncan Clinic solidified the relationship
between organizations. Ferrell-Duncan non-physician staff became employees
of Cox Health Systems.
1996 -- Cox and Freeman Hospital in Joplin partnered to offer Cox-Freeman
HealthPlans (HMO products) to communities in the Ozarks.
1996 --In August, The C.A.R.E. (Children Are Really Excellent Mobile,
a mobile health clinic for children, was started as a partnership between
Cox, Childrens Miracle Network and the Springfield/Greene Co. Health
1997 --In June, Cox Health Systems officially launched its website Cox
Housecall at www.coxnet.org.
1997 --Cox Health Systems, Primrose Healthcare Services and HealthNet,
a Kansas City-based managed health care provider, joined together to provide
Springfield and the surrounding areas with greater options in health care
1997 --Burrell Behavioral Health was among six organizations nationally
to receive the second annual Metropolitan Life Foundation Award for Excellence
in Affordable Housing. The national competitive award placed Burrell in
the top two for supportive housing programs.
1997 --In September, Cox Health Systems cancer program was named
the John K. and Ruth L. Hulston Cancer Center in honor of the man whose
leadership on the board of directors has been an integral part of the
health systems success.
1997 --In October, a dedication ceremony and unveiling of bronze sculptures
in the Cox South atrium honored Mrs. Claudine B. Cox, PhD, widow of Lester
L. Cox and the mother of Lester B. Cox, the current chairman of the board.
1997 --The Family Practice Residency Program of Cox Health Systems received
a full five-year accreditation after undergoing significant curriculum
change. The program also became affiliated with the University of Missouri-Columbia
to offer residents a vast number of resources and a cooperative learning
1998 --Cox Health Systems named a Top 100 Hospital in the United States
for the second consecutive year by HCIA and William M. Mercer Consulting
in their Benchmarks for Success study for 1997.
1998 --In July, Cox Health Systems acquired the Columbia/HCA facilities
in Springfield. Columbia South was renamed Cox Walnut Lawn and the medical
office building was renamed Medical South.
1999 --Cox Health Systems named to the list of Americas Top 100
Integrated Systems by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, and one
of the "Fastest Fifty" of Americas fastest growing health
care providers in Modern Healthcare magazine.
2000 --Cox launches its e-health care web site at www.coxhealth.com